Obviously I’m focused on which films might lead the Best Picture pack or are likely to win awards in other categories during the coming season. But it’s not the winning as much as the savoring and, yes, the arguing. 70% savoring, 30% arguing. The bottom line is that an amazing cavalcade of cool-sounding films are either opening or being shown at festivals between 8.29 and 12.31, an average of ten noteworthy-or-better films per month. We’re also going to see one small-arms skirmish after another. “Each movie is its own little war,” David Poland once said, except he really meant “battle.” The important thing is to fight clean and not gang up on a film with baseball bats and the throwing of political mudballs, which is what happened to poor Zero Dark Thirty.

The top 20 are Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s Birdman, James Marsh‘s The Theory of Everything, Christopher Nolan‘s Interstellar, J.C. Chandor‘s A Most Violent Year, Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Inherent Vice, Ava Duvernay‘s Selma, Vincent Melfi‘s St. Vincent, Ridley Scott‘s Exodus: Gods and Kings, David Fincher‘s Gone Girl, Angelina Jolie‘s Unbroken, Jean Marc Vallee‘s Wild, Andrey Zvyagintsev‘s Leviathan, Noah Baumbach‘s While We’re Young, Rob Marshall‘s Into The Woods, Clint Eastwood‘s American Sniper, Mike Binder‘s Black and White, Jon Stewart‘s Rosewater, David Ayer‘s Fury, Jason Reitman‘s Men, Women & Children and Stephen Daldry‘s Trash.

We’ll also be grappling with Morten Tyldum‘s The Imitation Game, Tim Burton‘s Big Eyes, Fatih Akin‘s The Cut, Liv Ullman‘s Miss Julie, Abel Ferrara‘s Pasolini, Saul DibbsSuite Francaise, Werner Herzog‘s Queen of the Desert, Christian Petzold‘s Phoenix, Michael Roskam‘s The Drop, Ramin Bahrani‘s 99 Homes, Damian Szifron‘s Wild Tales, Maya ForbesInfinitely Polar Bear, Rupert Goold‘s True Story, Thomas McCarthy‘s The Cobbler, David Dobkin‘s The Judge, Dan Gilroy‘s Nightcrawler, Lone Scherfig‘s The Riot Club, David Gordon Green‘s Manglehorn, Barry Levinson‘s The Humbling…are you kidding? 40 films over the course and that’s not even counting the chaff. The journey and the communion…that’s what counts.